If you’re over 50, you may need to get screened for colorectal cancer. If you’ve had previous surgery, or if you had a serious illness that required treatment, it may take longer for your doctor to check for this disease.
Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the colon or rectum and spreads to other organs of the body. Colorectal cancer can also occur as part of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is a group of diseases that cause changes in how your body reacts to things you eat and drink.
Cancer is the result of a series of changes that occur in a cell. These changes are known as mutations or alterations. Cancer cells may be discovered in nearly every organ and tissue in the body.
Colorectal cancer usually begins as a polyp, which is a growth that has the potential to develop into cancer. Polyps can form anywhere in your colon or rectum.
Colorectal cancer has no symptoms at first. If you have occasional bowel movements and a change in bowel habits, that’s fine. But if you notice blood in your stool, rectal bleeding, or a large amount of diarrhea or constipation, then you should go to the doctor right away.
It is a sickness that affects both men and women, although it affects males more frequently.
Table of Contents
HOW DO PEOPLE GET COLORECTAL CANCER?
Colorectal cancer begins in the lining of the large intestine (colon) or rectum and spreads to other parts of the body. There are two types:
Distant metastasis: Other regions of the body, such as the lungs and bones, have been infiltrated by cancer cells.
Localized: Cancer cells have not spread beyond your colon.
One of the most curable tumors in colorectal cancer. That is why it is critical to understand what causes it and how to avoid it. It begins in the lining of the colon or rectum, which are sections of your digestive tract’s large intestine.
WHO GETS COLORECTAL CANCER?
Colorectal polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) and colorectal cancer don’t usually cause symptoms, particularly early on. It’s possible that someone has polyps or colorectal cancer and is completely unaware of it. That is why it is critical to get frequent colorectal cancer screenings.
The causes of colorectal cancer are not yet clear, but it appears to be related to inherited gene mutations and lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and family history.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, they might include:
An alteration in bowel habits.
You have blood in your feces or it is on your stool (bowel movement).
Diarrhea, constipation, or the sense that your bowels aren’t emptying completely.
Pain, pains, or cramps in the abdomen that does not go away.
You’re losing weight and you’re not sure why.
Consult your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. It’s possible that they’re caused by something other than cancer. Seeing your doctor is the only way to figure out what’s causing them.
CAN COLORECTAL CANCER BE FOUND EARLY?
The colorectal cancer screening test called a stool exam can find polyps and small cancers early. Even if you don’t have symptoms, it’s important to get screened regularly for colorectal cancer because the risk of developing the disease is higher than for other types of cancer.
Everyone over the age of 50 should be tested every five years, according to the American Cancer Society. Testing can be done in a variety of methods. You could use a digital rectal exam or sigmoidoscopy, which involves inserting a thin tube into your rectum. For people who have health insurance or who can pay out of pocket, there are other less expensive options available.
If you start getting regular colonoscopies in your 60s or 70s, it may help lower your risk of dying from colorectal cancer over time. But even if you decide not to get screened right away, it is still important to know that screening saves lives!
WHAT IS THE DIAGNOSIS OF COLORECTAL CANCER?
The first step in the diagnosis of colorectal cancer is a physical exam. Your doctor will look for any symptoms of sickness in your heart, lungs, and abdomen.
Other tests that may be used are:
A colonoscopy — A flexible tube with a light and camera at the end is passed through your rectum into the colon (large intestine) to look for tumours or other abnormal growths in your bowel.
CT scan or MRI scan — These take pictures of internal organs using radiation but not X-rays. They are more detailed than ultrasounds because they show all tissues inside the body. CT scans can show tumours, blood vessels, blood clots, inflammation and even new bone growths in some cases. MRI scans can show soft tissue injuries such as tears or bleeding, tumours and other problems inside the body.
PET scan — PET scans use radioactivity instead of X-rays to create images that show how fast cancer cells are growing in specific areas of your body. PET scans may also be used to detect tumour markers such as CEA, which can help doctors follow you during and after treatment.
TREATMENTS AFTER TESTS
Surgical removal is the only way to treat stage 0 colon cancer. More extensive surgery is required to remove the malignant section of the colon in stages I, II, and III malignancies. This surgery is called colectomy or colectomy.
Your doctor will check to see if you are having any problems after your procedure. If you have pain or bleeding that does not stop, contact your doctor right away.
After surgery, blood tests may be required to ensure that your heart and other organs are in good working order. You should wait until your doctor says it’s alright to eat solid meals.
Chemotherapy works by killing cancer cells with chemicals called drugs. Doctors use chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells and shrink tumors so they can be removed by surgery. Chemotherapy can be either orally or injected directly into a vein.
High-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation are used in radiation treatment to harm and destroy cancer cells, preventing them from growing or spreading (metastasizing). Radiation therapy can be given as pills or may be given through an IV (intravenous) line directly into your bloodstream.
WHAT IS TARGETED THERAPY?
Targeted therapies are categorized by their target, or molecular signature, which is how they interfere with cancer cells. The more specific the target, the better the drug will work. There are four types of targets in cancer cells:
Oncogene targets — Cancer-causing genes that make cells reproduce uncontrollably. Drugs that target oncogene targets can kill cancer cells by preventing them from dividing or making copies of themselves.
Immunogenic targets — The proteins on the surface of a cell that are used by the immune system to fight infection and other diseases. Immunotherapy drugs take advantage of this mechanism to attack cancer cells without harming normal tissues
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition or epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) — A form of cell division in which some cells become more like other types including immune cells and blood vessels. EMT is often seen as part of development when tissue becomes specialized; for example, it occurs in embryos during gastrulation (the process through which an organism forms its internal organs). Drugs that target this process can help stop tumor growth.